• Renovating the Jacksonville Landing

    By: Leslie Coursey


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - From a quiet shopping center to a high-rise retail and residential destination, big plans are in the works for the Jacksonville Landing,  and small-business owner Sylvia Walker can't wait to see it.

    "We're very excited about the dollars that's been dedicated to this," said Walker, who runs the Natural As I Wanna Be day spa at the Landing.

    Mayor Alvin Brown has earmarked $11.8 million in his budget for Landing renovations.

    "It's real exciting, I think. I think it's something that should have been done years ago," said Landing owner Toney Sleiman.

    He said the money will renovate the city-owned portion of the property -- Laura Street, Hogan Street, and the center courtyard.

    Landing renovations are part of a larger plan to revive the riverfront. That plan includes demolishing the old courthouse, developing the Shipyards property and renovating Metropolitan Park.

    "Mayor Brown has made it clear. We cannot really help Downtown reach its potential unless the Landing reaches its potential," said the mayor's spokesman, David DeCamp.

    If the Landing reaches its potential, Walker believes her business will too.

    "The Jacksonville Landing has been a great place for us," she said.

    Renovation plans include creating a plaza between the Landing and the Times-Union Center, and a small amphitheater where the Landing stage is now.

    As far as the larger development plan, Sleiman and the city are still in talks, so no timetable has been set.

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